n 2018, 35% of the U.S. population had at least four years of college education — the most in history. But while we might have the most educated population ever, these degrees aren’t necessarily giving people the practical work skills they need.
College degree programs simply cannot keep pace with how fast things are changing in the workforce. Many students are currently being prepared for jobs that no longer exist, and many don’t have the right skills for the job they want. Skills gaps are prevalent and widening.
This becomes even more problematic as more and more of our work tasks are automated. Automation means that grads could be doing higher-value work earlier in their careers, as machines take over repetitive or mundane tasks. On the one hand, this actually suits this demographic’s demand for autonomy and responsibility earlier in their careers. But it also means that they’ll need to be better prepared for what lies ahead: more and more employers are going to require exceptional soft skills — the ability to write, listen, and communicate effectively.